Heather Hansen - Kinetic Drawing

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Have you ever heard of Kinetic Drawing?

It is kind of awesome. It might be a completely new concept for you. Artists use their bodies to create their art. Bear with me, I realise that sounds questionable.

Before anyone starts to ask, I am not referring to The Kinetic Family Drawing Test developed by Burns & Kaufman. This is often used by psychologists to assess a child's mental state and how they regard their family unit. They will be asked to draw themselves and then members of their family doing something. They then assess the art work and analysis their situation. 

The Kinetic Drawing I am talking about stems from an art experiment called 'Emptied Gestures', created by contemporary performance artist and dancer Heather Hansen who is from New Orleons in America. She explains her work:

'Emptied Gestures is an experiment in kinetic drawing.
 In this series, I am searching for ways to download my movement directly onto paper, emptying gestures from one form to another and creating something new in the process.'


Heather Hansen in action. Heatherhansen.net

Heather Hansen in action. Heatherhansen.net

Heather Hansen in action. Heatherhansen.net 

Heather Hansen in action. Heatherhansen.net 

Alexander Calder  Antennae with Red and Blue Dots  c.1953  Tate © ARS, NY and DACS, London 2018  These are mobiles that would move in contact with air movement or installed motors. 

Alexander Calder
Antennae with Red and Blue Dots c.1953
© ARS, NY and DACS, London 2018

These are mobiles that would move in contact with air movement or installed motors. 


Kinetic Art in itself is not new. Children will learn about the word 'kinetic' in physics lessons. It means motion, movement of an object or person. Kinetic art began to be used within the creation of art from the beginning of the 20th century. It was used in many ways; to visualise the concept of time and movement, to explore the impact machines and technology were having on the world. In the 1950s -60s it became very popular. Alexander Calder and Naum Gabo are a couple of artists that created Kinetic art in the form of mobiles. See right.







You might have cottoned on to why this might be a great art movement and artist to introduce to your Little Feet. Movement and Art, two loves for most children. To combine them we introduce and widen their minds to the true depth, unpredictability and unlimited opportunities that art can give you and inspire you to create. 


Show the video below to your Little Feet so they can understand and visualise what to do. To you Big Feet, how do you feel when you watch it? Don't you think it is quite therapeutic to watch? Or is that just me?! I could watch this over and over again. Perhaps it is the beautiful symmetry in its creation and the uniqueness of each piece. 

What do you need:

  • Chalk/charcol/crayons/pens (basically whatever you have lying around). 
  • Paper, lots of it (we bought a roll from Baker Ross, but other craft stores will sell them too)
  • Sellotape


  1. Cut large lengths of paper and sellotape them together. How big they are will depend on how big or small your child is. There needs to be enough space for them to stretch out their  arms and draw on the paper. 

  2. We did this activity in the kitchen as it meant I could sellotape the paper down to the floor. There is no reason why you couldn't do it outside if the weather is good. 
  3. You may need to demonstrate to your Little Feet how to do it before they start. Then just let them play with it. 

There is something very satisfying about these markings don't you think? 

On another note, Big Feet reading this, you should definitely give this a go too. I had just as much fun doing my own! 


If the weather is particularly good, there is really no reason why you couldn't just use large outdoor chalks (like we used) and do it straight on to the pavement or garden patio. This would negate the need for paper and sellotape! If they get bored then they can just have fun with the chalk outdoors, as shown below!